We got up bright and early to catch the ferry to Maria Island and were rewarded with this gorgeous sunrise from our cottage window!
Maria Island is just off the coast near Swansea. It has been high on Peter’s list since we first started talking about Tasmania because of its “Painted Cliffs.” There is one ferry over at 9:00am and one return at 4:30pm. There is camping on the island so Peter had his heart set on taking enough gear to spend the night there (shooting sunset and sunrise, don’t you know!) But even basic gear for a one-nighter wasn’t going to fit in the luggage so he reluctantly abandoned that idea for a day-trip instead.
The weather was terrific and we disembarked from the ferry and immediately headed for the Cliffs where Peter lost himself for about 2 hours. As it turned out, both the sun and the tide were very cooperative and he’s really happy with what he got – see two samples below. (He couldn’t have shot at sunset or sunrise anyway because the tide would have been too high!) We spent the rest of the day wandering around the island which was the original prison for English convicts. However, taking their cues from the local Aborigines, the prisoners built themselves kayaks and were impossible to contain. So this prison was decommissioned and the one in Port Arthur (where we dined a couple of nights ago!) was built as a replacement. There’s a fascinating history to Maria (pronounced as in Carey) Island, involving cement production, brickworks, etc. but none of the evidence remains except ruins of the buildings.
It was a really peaceful afternoon roaming the fields and shorelines – although the trees seemed to be channeling the windblown loneliness that the convicts in the past must have felt.
Tomorrow we’re leaving Tasmania for the Australian mainland (Melbourne) and we both feel like we didn’t see anywhere near enough here – I’m particularly sad to have missed the Bay of Fires but the distances combined with twisty roads were just too onerous for a one-day trip.
PS – a final observation on Tasmania: the sheep here are brown (well, taupe to be precise) and unsheared, and nowhere near as numerous as NZ.